Ford Motor Co. (F) unveiled a concept version of its Lincoln MKC at the Detroit Auto Show, a luxury crossover designed to tap the burgeoning potential of the luxury vehicles market in the U.S. The vehicle will share the same platform of Ford Escape sports utility vehicle (:SUV) and will feature the same push-button transmission available in the Lincoln MKZ sedan.
Lincoln is the only surviving luxury line of Ford after the sale of Jaguar, Land Rover, Aston Martin and Volvo. Ford began to expand its luxury Lincoln line-up at the cost of its Mercury line-up from late 2010.
According to Ford, the premium crossover segment has more than tripled in the past four years. Further, the company expects a 7.5% growth in the luxury vehicle market in the U.S. The automaker aims to revive the lackluster image of Lincoln brand by launching new models and undertaking aggressive marketing strategy.
Ford plans to roll out seven all new or significantly upgraded new generation Lincoln models by 2015, including a small car in 2014. However, the company is likely to face strong competition from luxury lineups introduced by other automakers, including BMW AG’s X3 and Honda Motor Co.’s (HMC) Acura RDX.
Last year, Ford announced plans to introduce Lincoln in China’s booming luxury vehicles market in order to beat its rival market leaders including General Motors Company (GM) and Volkswagen AG (VLKAY). The automaker aims to launch the lineup in the second half of 2014.
The company had revealed that the Lincolns to be sold in China will be initially manufactured in North America. However, they will be costlier than the U.S. due to luxury taxes (based on engine size) and import duties.
Ford, a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold) stock, posted a 17.6% rise in earnings per share to 40 cents in the third quarter of the year from 34 cents a year ago driven by impressive results in its North American operation and, to some extent, its Asian operation.
With this, the company has also beaten the Zacks Consensus Estimate by 10 cents per share. Total profit rose 15.6% to $1.6 billion from $1.4 billion a year ago.
However, total revenue in the quarter slid 3.0% to $32.1 billion due to lower revenues in South America, Europe and Financial Services operations that offset the marginal improvement in revenues in North America and Asia. However, revenues were higher than the Zacks Consensus Estimate of $31.0 billion for the quarter.
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